Today we’re going to be starting a new series called Family Matters. We’re going to talk about, well, what does that have to do with Easter? That’s kind of unconventional, maybe, but I wanted to show you how it ties together. I’m looking forward to what God wants to speak to the Mount Carmel church. You can follow along on sermon notes, but if you’ve got your bibles, let’s open those up and turn to Ephesians chapter 3. Woo. Yeah, just happy about God. That’s why we’re hollering, we’re a little bit excited about what he’s doing. Let’s pray, and just invite God to speak to us. Lord, I just thank you that you’re the one. You’re the one we focus on, you’re the one that we celebrate. Jesus, I give you praise. Holy Spirit, be in this place, that you teach us all about the love of God. I pray that every person listening today will not hear me, but they will hear you and what you want to speak to them. So, Lord, we just give you a right of way, we give you permission to do whatever’s on the heart of heaven today, that Jesus will be exalted and people will be drawn close to you. It’s in your awesome name. I pray. Amen.

This new series, Family Matters, we’re going to be getting into it a little bit in the coming weeks, so I encourage you to come back. We’re going to talk about all kinds of things that deal with family, but when I say the word family, right out of the gate, we all have different perspectives of what that looks like. It, means something different to different people. You may be listening to me to me today, married, you may be single, you may be divorced, you may be remarried. You may be parents with children. You may be parents with no children. You may be parents with stepchildren. You may be stepchildren with step parents. You may be grandparents raising your grandkids or a number of combinations. We can’t cover them all, right? There are so many ways, and this is something that when we talk about family, we want to try and connect what that means in each of each person’s life. Because if you’re like me, my family has changed dramatically over my lifetime. What it started out like when I was a kid compared to what it is now, it has changed a lot through marriages, re-marriages, pregnancies, you know, divorces. It happens. Family grows and evolves. The thing about family, that we’ve got to remember is that, as our family grows, our capacity to love has to grow too. You know, when you’re a little kid, you’ve got your select group of people and you’re like, I love them, that’s it. Everybody else outside of this group, I can’t stand them. I Just love you; you know what I mean?

I’m always confused. You know, Mount Carmel church, I’ve got five kids, for those who don’t know, I’ve got four girls and one boy, and I’m always confused with the whole best friend thing. I don’t get it. I’m trying to understand, I’m on my fourth girl, getting ready to turn into a teenager and I’m like, by the fourth teenage girl, you think I’d grasp it. I still don’t understand how you can have eight best friends. I don’t do it, maybe I’m too analytical. The word best, to me, means there’s no other. So, I’m like, this is my best friend. They’re not too bad. You know, they’re a good friend. But anyway, I’ll get back on track. So, as we understand what this family needs, your love for family, has to grow and evolve. Sometimes family involves bloodlines and sometimes family does not involve bloodlines. Sometimes you can have a family member by definition and not by relationship. You know what I’m talking about? Yeah, they’re my family, but that’s it. You don’t like to talk about it someone’s like, “hey, aren’t you related to them?” “Yeah, distant cousins.” “I thought that was your brother?” “Well, you know, whatever, it is.” but you can also have family by relationship and not by definition. You ever have those people that you guys say, we’re like family. You’re not related to them, but you might as well be. Where you just come to a place where, we’re in such relationship, that you start removing the labels and you just start calling them family. People come up to you say, well, who’s this? Hey, they’re part of the family. That’s because love and relationship define family more than blood. That’s what we’re going to talk about.

Let’s see what it looks like here in the Bible. I’m going to give you three keys to family membership today. Three “O’s”, if you will. I like to do it just to make it easy for you to remember. The first one is opportunity, to be involved in a family, to be a member in a family the number one thing you must have is opportunity. Opportunity is outside of you that’s somebody is doing something for you, that you didn’t do for yourself. Opportunity is an invitation, opportunity is something that’s given to you, and we’ll get into that more in just a moment. Number two, it’s optional. Optional means it’s, uh, you can’t, you can’t force your way into a family situation. You can’t go up to people and say, Hey, I’m going to be part of your family. You’re like, you’re weird, back off, again, it’s optional. Someone has to welcome you. Someone has to invite you. It has to be something that is given through love and relationship connection. So, it’s optional. It’s not mandatory, Mount Carmel church. You can’t go up to other people and say, hey you’re part of my family. Okay, that’s strange. Okay, the third “O” is, open. So, if someone gives you an opportunity, it’s optional to you. The only way you can be a member of a family, is, if you open up your heart. Have you ever had people that you wanted to be a part of your family and they just wouldn’t do it? Maybe they were blood relatives and you did everything in the world you could to try and be friends with them. Maybe they’re not blood, but they married into the family and you’ve done everything you could to try and be their friend and they just would not open up your heart to you. See, if you’re going to be in a relationship where you’re gonna be able to call it family, you’ve got to be open to other people. This is why we can’t stay closed off. Sometimes people are going to come into our family that we didn’t necessarily ask for, Am I talking to anybody here? There’s going to be people come into your family that you didn’t ask for and you’ve got to keep opening up your heart to make room for people, because God made room for us. Alright, you’re going to be a little more excited about it when we get to that point later, I trust. since some of you are thinking about family members you don’t want to be open to and you just need to let it go.

Let’s look at the Bible here in Ephesians chapter three, look at verse 14, this is Paul writing to the church in Ephesus. Here’s what Paul said. For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ from whom, the whole family in heaven and earth is named. What does it mean when it says, the whole family in heaven and earth? When I read that, maybe there’s some questions that might come to your mind when you hear that. Here’s some questions. Maybe you think these, maybe you don’t, but I’m just throwing this out to you. Maybe you’re thinking this in the overflow room, maybe you’re thinking this or maybe someone watching online is thinking this. Maybe you thought some of these questions. Here’s the first one. Does God have a family in heaven and earth? Does God want me, in his family? I mean, I know me, right? You know yourself. Maybe you’ve said, does God really want me in his family? Am I currently a part of his family, right now? Am I a part of the family, God? I don’t know? I think I am. I don’t know? I’m not sure? Am I really a part of the family of God? Am I part of a Mount Carmel church? Maybe it’s a question you’re asking. Lastly, what does it take to be a member of the family of God? What does it take to be a member of the family in heaven and earth? So maybe there’s some questions we’re asking.

So, let’s boil it down to this. What is the point of this holiday? Really? What’s the big deal? Why everybody’s coming to church? Why in the world, is Chad wearing a suit? That’s the real question for the day. What’s the point? Why? Why is everybody make it a big deal about Easter? We know it’s literally not about eggs and Reese’s peanut butter cup eggs, although we’re thankful to God for that. I just felt the presence of God hit me right there. So, I’m thinking about what’s in my basket when I get home. Nah, I’m just kidding, so what’s the big deal? What’s the point of the holiday? Why? Why do more people come to church on this day than any other church at any other day and the tire year? What’s the big deal? What’s the big deal about Easter? Why is it a holiday? Let me tell you this. The significance of the entire Christian faith is built on the fact, let me say, fact, that something happened. If you’re a nonbeliever, if you’re not a follower of Christ, that’s all right. I’m letting you off the hook. It doesn’t matter. I’m saying I’m going to tell you some things that aren’t Bible. I’m just going to tell you some facts, some things that something actually happened.

It is a historical fact that a man named Jesus was born to a woman named Mary in Bethlehem, was raised in Nazareth and was crucified on a cross. That’s a not a biblical fact. That’s a historical fact. This Roman historian, let me give you this. The Roman historian Tacitus, written in A.D. 116. He’s not a Christian, this isn’t a Christian commentary. This is a Roman historian. He stated that Jesus was executed, on the orders of Pontius Pilot, the governor of Roman, Judea during the reign of Emperor Tiberius. All of those things can be determined through historical documents. There was a Roman emperor named Tiberius. There was a Pontius Pilot. There was a man, Jesus, that was crucified at that time. Those are facts, it just happened. Something happened, but the fact that Jesus died on the cross is not the kicker. That’s not the big deal about today. That’s not why we’re here today, Mount Carmel church. It’s awesome. Nobody’s making any dispute about that, but why we’re celebrating today is because, there was a lot of people there are crucified on crosses, lot of people that got nailed to those trees, but there’s only one that they couldn’t find the body for.

There’s only one, that the tomb was empty. He wasn’t there. I mean, he was there, but then he wasn’t there. I mean, put yourself in the disciple’s shoes. This is what made the difference for the disciples. These are people that walked with Jesus every day for three and a half years. Every day they walked with him and they got to know him. They personally interacted with Him and then they saw him nailed to the cross and we’re like, whoa. With a Messiah, we thought, son of God, we thought, you know, you want to restore the Kingdom of God. Man, this is kind of disappointing. Jesus died on the cross. They all run, their scared, John’s the only one that stays there with him and they saw him nailed to the cross. They saw him taken off the cross. They saw him dead. They saw him put in the tomb. They saw the stone rolled over the tomb, they saw all of that, and none of that changed their lives. What changed their life? It’s when they’re in a room and they’re afraid of the Jews and all the sudden the doors are closed. You can’t get in and all of a sudden, boom, here comes Jesus. He just shows up in the room! I’m talking, he wasn’t there, then Boom! he’s there. Poof. He shows up says, peace. You better say more than peace. I might wet myself if that happened, if I was there. Not sure. that’s great to say online, but I’ve already said it, so just got to let it go. I’m just saying, it would be a shocking moment, right? Here’s what Jesus said. Hey guys, look at me. Look at my hands. Look at my hands. Look at my feet. Put your hand in my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but be believing. In that moment, it went from a cool theory and cool story to disciples that said, I’m willing to lay my life down for this guy.

The Bible says that Jesus appeared to over 500 people after he rose from the dead. So please, let’s don’t leave Jesus on the cross. He came down off the cross, he rose from the dead, and that’s what changed everything. It changed everything. It took scared, afraid dude’s and turned them into powerhouses. Why, Mount Carmel church? Because they saw the nail scarred hands with their own eyes. Something happened. The entire church was built on the eye witness testimony of men and women, who saw Jesus after he was crucified. Women that saw him and the tomb, and went to the tomb, and he shows up to them and he says, “Hey Mary,” and they go, “Whoa, Jesus!” It changed their life. That’s why we make a big deal about this day. That’s why we celebrate, because, if Jesus doesn’t raise from the dead, it’s all wasted. You don’t believe me?

Here’s what Paul said in first Corinthians 15:17 and if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless. You are still guilty of your sins. Why were the disciples willing to risk their life? Why do you come to church? You come to church because it’s a church-y thing to do. You come to church because if you think the eh, it’s kind of, what I’m supposed to do, that whole God thing and whatever, but it will never change your life, until you realize, that Jesus died and rose from the dead for you. It’ll always be a church thing; it’ll always be distant. It was always distant for me. It was always, you know, something I probably ought to do, and yeah, it will always be something out there. But when it becomes personal and when the disciple’s eyes were open to the fact that this is the real deal, this is a living deal, this is worth dying for. It changed their life forever and your life, Mount Carmel church, my life, will never be changed until my eyes are open to see that Jesus is alive and he died for my sin. It’ll never happen. It’ll just still be church and he’ll still be something cool that you try and do on the side. You’ll come once in a while and we’ll miss the point, that he loves you and he says, to you, look at my hands. Look at my feet. He rose from the dead. So why did he do it? Why did Jesus leave heaven, die on a cross, and raise from the dead? I’ll tell you why. Two words, Family matters, because, family matters to God. Let’s look at what it means.

Let’s look at our first “O”, the first one is opportunity. An opportunity must be offered to you, to be a part of the family of heaven and earth. An opportunity must be offered, this is something outside of yourself. You can’t offer yourself an opportunity, to the family of God. It has to be offered to you. From the very beginning, God wanted a family. He didn’t want church services, religious organizations, merely. What he wanted was relationship. In Genesis chapter one, when he created man in the very beginning it says, then God said Let us, so, the father, the son, Holy Spirit talk. He said, let us make man in our image according to our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, birds of the air, cattle, every creeping thing that creeps in the earth. Verse 27, so God created man in his own image. In the image of God, he created him, male and female. He created them. Look at your neighbor and say, you look like God. Some of you weren’t very excited about telling them, they look like God. You’re like, a, I’m not looking at them. say, Hey, you look like God. That’s not sacrilegious, God said, you were made in his image and his likeness. You look like God. I’m looking at some godlike people. Well, you say, you’re not looking deep enough, but this is what he’s saying. God said, I want a family. Here’s the family in heaven, the father, son, the Holy Spirit, God, the angels with him. He said, you know what? That’s not enough. I want a family on the earth, like this, Mount Carmel church.

So, he said, we’re going to create a family. He creates a man, creates a woman, says, we want you to get together and verse 28, you get together. I don’t need to explain that. Verse 28, then God blessed them, said to be fruitful and multiply. Lot of thoughts running around the track. I’m just letting them run right now, but God desired relationship, He desired a family, and he’s got a man and a woman. He said now I want you go and I want you to create more. He creates man and woman, “mini-me’s,” puts them on the planet and He says, make more “mini-me’s.” Just go multiply and he wanted relationship with them. God’s desire, was never for them to just obey him, He wanted to have relationship with them. He said, I want to hang out with you every day. He said, go out and I just take dominion over the earth. Just go out and just live your life. Go to your job, go to your workplace, go to school, go, everywhere you go. I just want to hang out with you. I just want to be with you. I just want to have a relationship. That was his goal. He wanted a family, from the very beginning. He was the initiator of the family. He started the whole thing, this Mount Carmel church. We didn’t start it. God started family, He said, I want a family. This is what he threw out.

Now here’s the second “O”, it’s optional. So, God gave us the opportunity. He gave us breath, He gave us life, but it’s got to be optional. Why does it gotta be optional? Because love and relationship are what family is about. It’s not just about I was born into something. It’s about a love and relationship, and how many knows this love requires a choice for it to be genuine love, for it to be real love. It has to be a choice, a choice to stay connected, whether it’s a husband and wife or kids or parents or whatever the relationship is, there is a choice to stay connected. Love requires a choice. This is why God said, I want to have a relationship with you. I want to be in family with you, but I’m going to make it optional. In other words, you can choose to be in family with me. You can choose to be in relationship with me or you can choose not to be in relationship with me. Here’s the beauty of God and the challenge of God. God doesn’t make us do anything. Sometimes we want him to. God, just tell me what to do. God, just tell me, just control my thoughts. God, just control everything. God, just make everything happen the way it’s supposed to happen. God wants love and relationship. Imagine how weird it would be, this is why I have such a big problem with theology that says God’s in ultimate control of every decision. That He’s hand picking who gets saved, and who doesn’t get saved. If that were the case, we would have to apologize to many of you, watching me today, because there would be no way you’re going to heaven, simply because, you wouldn’t have a choice. If it’s already been predetermined for you that you’re going to go to hell, you have no say so in it. That’s a very common theology, that God’s hand-picking people. Imagine if that was the case.

Now that I’m in a relationship, now that I’ve been married for 21 years, now that I have five children, I can’t fathom what relationship would be like without love and choice. For Dawn and I to stay connected for 21 years, it’s been a lot of choosing and not a lot of feeling. Yeah. I’m looking for somebody who wants to get real up in here. “Oh, there it is. So awesome. You’re so lovely. It’s so hot. Oh Man. It was so good. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.” That’s great, when it happens. It’s awesome. I’m all down with that. I got some more thoughts run around the track right now. Oh, so it was on the phone. Dawn’s in Chicago right now. And, and so we were coming back from an old day volleyball tournament yesterday and, and I’ve got three of the kids in the car and, and so we’ve got, um, we’re talking over the speaker because we’re talking on the phone, you know, when you’re hands free driving. And so, uh, we’re, talking there and you, she’s telling me all the kids saying hi. And pretty soon she said, hey, could you take me off speaker? Yeah, baby. So, I totally start messing with my kids. I’m like, oh, baby. Yeah. Okay, come on now. Come on now. You’ll be home soon. She’s not saying a thing like that. I’m totally in. The girls were like, Oh God, stop talking. But how many knows that true relationship, sometimes just requires a dry choice.

If you’ve been married longer than a week, you know what I’m talking about. You’re like, oh, I love you. Hey man, glory to God. It just happens and this is what God wanted. He said, I want it to be optional. Why? This was why the god of this world, some people are like, well, why did God just leave satan and on the earth? Why is he called the god of this world? Because he wanted there to be another god for you to choose from. Why did he put so many trees in the garden of Eden, and then say, don’t eat of that one? Why? Because he said, I’m a god of choice. Love is a choice. I want you to have all kinds of options. I want you to go do this and go do that, and go do this, but I choose you, Jesus. He’s like, oh, they chose me. You imagine what the feeling’s like. If I had no choice here, I come to worship you, Jesus. I’ll give you praise just like you programmed me to. You imagined God’s heart going, yeah, that’s great, but it’s when I can do whatever I want and I say Jesus. Here I am. I could be clubbing, but here I am. I could be hung over this morning, but here I am, early praising you, God. Whatever it is, I don’t know what your life is like, but Jesus said, I will make it optional for you. He says, choose you this day whom you will serve. Choose who you are going to serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. That’s what Joshua said. So, He said, I’m going to make optional for you Mount Carmel church and we’ll make it so optional, that, I want you to understand the meaning behind it. Here’s what he said in John 15:9, Jesus said, as the father loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. It’s not this idea, that if I keep his commandments, he will love me. If I do what God tells me to do and I don’t do what he does tell me to do, then he will love me. It’s when I keep his commandments, I abide in his love because his commandments are love. He loves me, so I want to be where he wants me to be, because I want to be in love. I just want to hang out in love. If you want to hang out in love, then do whatever God tells you to do. Well, it’s going to hold me back.

Again, with parenting, sometimes I get frustrated with parenting and God says, welcome to my world. Because I’m thinking, there’s times that I, in my heart, I say this is why, you don’t need to do that. This is why you need to do that. This is why I care. This is why I ask invading questions. This is why I get into your business, because I love you. Yeah, it’s not so I can restrict you and suck the life right out of you. Not to be a joy sponge and just suck all the joy out of your life. No, it’s because I love you. Why don’t we say to our kids, Hey, you know, stay away from the highway with those cars driving by. It’s not because we don’t love, it’s because we do love them. And this is the same way about the commandments of God. The commandments and the guidance, that God gives us in scripture is not to be a joy sponge, but to be a life source so we can abide in the love of God. You don’t imagine my kids would say, hey, now let’s see. I get away from the street. Oh Dad, you’re just trying to hold me back, trying to hold me back, from the fun and the freedom of playing in traffic. I just want to run wild amongst the cars, Dad. Yeah, you can, you totally can. But there could be consequences, and because I see in the grand scheme, as Lucas is getting older, again, boys are a little different than girls, we’re finding out, news flash to the Everett household. So, as he’s growing up, you know, he’s a little bit different and he processes things a little bit differently and communicates a little bit differently. Every once in a while, Dawn will say, well, why, is he doing that? I’m like, uh, uh, uh, yeah, sorry. That’s just what we do. Okay, so anyway, sometimes, do you ever see something from a bigger picture then your kids have seen, they don’t see the why, right? So, we were having a conversation about something the other day with one of my kids and I’m like, Hey, I just want you to understand the big picture of this decision; that if you make this decision than it ripples in this way, this way, and this way. So, I want you to see everything, all of that out of love to try and help them make the best decision possible. This is the way God is with us. This is why it gives us commandments, not because he wants to hold us back because he sees the big picture. He loves you, and he makes it optional. That’s the second “O” so I’m gonna make it optional to you. I’m gonna give you the opportunity to walk away from it. I’m going to give you the opportunity to embrace it, or not.

How many has ever had a family member though, that’s made some bad choices? I mean, how many has ever made bad choices yourself. See, because God initiated the family with Adam and Eve. Then how many knows, they made a bad choice and they chose to eat the fruit that God told him not to eat? And you’re like, what’s the big deal about the fruit God, that’s kind of harsh, kicking them out of the garden over just eating some fruit. It wasn’t just that they ate some fruit, it’s because they chose to give their love and relationship to something other than God. That’s what happened in that moment, as God predicted, their spirit died. Here’s the conundrum, here’s the problem. Here’s the father in heaven and his family created a family on the earth, but sin separated them now and now, here’s the father in heaven, stuck without an earthly family. An earthly family stuck on earth without a heavenly family, and there’s a huge chasm that we can’t jump. We can’t do it because of Adam’s sin, here’s what happened, because Adam sinned, every one born of Adam was born into sin is the problem. Mount Carmel church, this was what they were stuck with.

Look at Ephesians 3:15, the word here, from whom the whole family, I thought this was powerful, from whom the whole family. The word family is a word that means the lineage or family line of a paternal descent. When I first read that, I’m like, no big deal. Kind of skimmed over it and then just like, whew, pay attention. Paternal descent, you know how you have paternal grandparents and maternal grandparents. Maternal being on your mom’s side, paternal being on your Dad’s side. Well, this word family means on the father’s side. The problem with mankind, was our father, Adam, sinned and he produced sin after him, every single person, in that bloodline. So here now, God’s got a problem. He’s got an issue. What are we going to do about this? Who’s going to break that pattern? I’m just going to role play a little, a few of you may think it’s sacrilegious. I’m sorry. I just like to process things a little bit differently. Here’s the father, son, the Holy Spirit all up in heaven. He got Jesus here on the right hand. Maybe the Holy Spirit’s on the left or maybe he’s just hovering around. I’m not sure what the Holy Spirit is doing. He’s just doing his thing. His thing, her thing, never mind. Don’t get into spirit, gender stuff. Never mind.

So, here’s Jesus and they’re all having this conversation and, so they’re like, okay, what are we going to do? We want our family, but we’ve lost our family, because of sin. They chose another and God said, well, I tell you what we’re going to have to do. We’re going to have to start new bloodline, and Jesus was like, yeah! new bloodline, that’s what we’ve gotta do, big daddy! Start a new bloodline, new people, new people group and we need a new father too. Let’s do it. Let’s do it. All right. What are we gonna need to do? Maybe the father said, well, Jesus, here’s the thing. I’m gonna need your participation in this. He’s like, Dad, you know whatever you want to do. I’m in, I’m down. I’m down with you. We’re in unity. He said, well, here’s my plan. I want you to become a human. Go down into the earth and become a man and you’re going to redeem him through your life and death. Uh, Dad, could you run that part by me one more time?

No. I believe Jesus was, I’m in. I’m in. Whatever it will take because the love of family brought Jesus to the earth. It brought him to the earth and this is what he did. Jesus had to make another opportunity for us. This is why, its why, the Bible says in Galatians chapter four that when the fullness of time Jesus came, born of a woman, born of a woman doesn’t say he was born of a man. He was born of a woman. Why? The man part was removed because God needed to start a new paternal line. So the old the man, the human man, you got to come out the way and I’m bringing Jesus in and Jesus is going to start a new bloodline and every one that’s born of Jesus, your new Daddy, Jesus, he’s going to be the one who’s going to create followers, sons and daughters of me. That’s why we can be adopted into the family of God. Jesus did what we couldn’t do. He couldn’t find a man that was worthy. He was like Abraham? Can I use the Abraham to redeem? No. Now Abraham is jacked up. He’s got issues. That whole Ishmael thing, it didn’t work out too well. How about, how about King David? King David surely, King David? Nah. Aw Man. King David, he’s got problems. Bathsheba. Do we even need to talk about Bathsheba? But he won’t work. You know we’ve got Paul. How about Paul? No, he’s killed a bunch of people and threw them in jail. Probably not a good messiah. How about Chad Everett? Will Ted be able to do it? Now, how about Steve? How about Bob? But there was none found. No one could do it. No one could do it. Revelation says this, John the Revelator, had this vision and he saw that no one on earth or in heaven or under the earth, we’re able to open the seals, and he started to cry because there was no way to restore the family of God. But then one of the elders touches him on the shoulder, says, Hey, don’t cry. Jesus. The lamb of God, the lion of the tribe of Judah. He has prevailed. Jesus did what I couldn’t do, he gave us another opportunity.

Let’s look at the last, “O”, the word open. We must open the door. You got an opportunity. It’s optional. Tell everyone watching, everyone listening, but we got to open our hearts to it. Revelations 3 says, behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with me on the throne is also overcame and sat down with my father on his throne. Notice what it says, I stand at the door and knock. That word knock is a, active, present tense, verb and here’s what it means. Behold, I stand at the door and I am knocking. It’s not I knocked once, and If you don’t answer, boom, I’m out. I’m knocking. You ever had anyone knock at your door like that, Mount Carmel Church? This is Jesus, behold, I stand at the door and I’m knocking. It gets annoying after a while. You’re like, how long are you going to do it? I’m going to prove a point to you, that this is what Jesus thinks about you. I’m never going to stop knocking. I don’t care what you do, how many times you turn your back on me. I don’t care what you go through. I don’t care how mad you get. I don’t care how hurt you get. I’m never going to stop knocking. I don’t believe God anymore. I don’t care. I’m going to keep knocking. I want to do my own thing. I don’t care. I’m going to keep knocking. This is Jesus saying to you today, I will never stop knocking. Is the point driving home yet? I don’t know what your hurt is. I don’t know what your disappointment is, but Jesus is saying, I will never quit knocking. I will never stop knocking. He says, all we have to do is we have to open the door. All you have to do is open your door.

God gave you an opportunity, you couldn’t make happen on your own. We were stuck without a relationship. We were stuck without a family in heaven. We were stuck, but Jesus came. We have to stop this ideology, that relationship with God has anything to do with our goodness. You’ll ride a roller coaster, of whether God accepts you or not, based on that fact if you think it’s about you. No, my relationship.

See the Bible says this in Romans 8, that nothing can separate us from the love of God, for that love is found in Christ Jesus. The love of God for you, is unconditional, but the love of God abiding in you, is relational. It’s optional. The love of God for me, I could never do anything to stop it, but the love of God working in me is optional by my relationship with him and God says, I’m knocking. Will you open the door? Will you open the door? For some of you, you’re a Christian, but there’s an area of your life, there’s a door that you’ve shot that you don’t talk about it. There’s that area of your life. Something happened, something went down, something hurts you, and you’ve shut that door and you’ve said, we don’t go there. It’s closed off. It might as well have caution tape on it. Do not enter, no trespassing. God’s knocking on that door today for you. Why? Because here’s the beauty of God. Wherever he goes, he brings love, and he’s the best interior decorator in the world.

Now, granted, that’s not my forte, but God, when he looks at our life and he says, Chad Everett, if you will, let me in that room. Here’s what he’s saying. I can just see him, but you’ve got that room, you know that hurt room. You know, they’ve got that movie called the panic room. Some people have the pain room, the divorce room, the children room, a church room, where you’ve been hurt by church. It was everything you could do to walk into this building today because you’ve been hurt by church. I’m not offering you a perfect church. I’m offering you a perfect Savior; His name is Jesus. But he’s saying to you, let me in that room, because I can imagine He’s like this. I imagine he’s outside of the room, you know, I imagine he’s outside saying, just let me in there. Come on, let me in, let me in. Why? Cause when he walks in, boom, he brings love and he says, Oh, let me fix that. Let me fix that. Let me fix that. Oh, let’s work through that. I can walk you through it. I can change it. Let’s take out some of this old junk and get that out of the room. Let me bring in some new pictures. Let me bring in some new furniture. Behold, I make all things new. He wants to get in your room, but we got to open the door because he’s not kicking any doors down. He’s not. He’s saying, I love you unconditionally. You can play your wild season if you want, in your life. Here I am.

I remember coming home one night. I threw up so many times I couldn’t even keep track and I’m sitting there kneeling there just too graphic for you? I apologize, preachers, don’t normally talk about this. I’m huddled over the porcelain and I heard God say, how long Chad Everett? That night, I heard him. I could give you times and times, where I heard him knocking. There came a time in December of 1995 when I’m getting ready to go out to the club, I’m getting ready to go out too. We first would go to casual bar, then we’d work our way towards the strip joint, but at the end of the evening, that night, I’m ironing my shirt. I hear a knock and I heard God say to me, Chad Everett, it’s either me or them, which will it be? It was a choice. It was an option. It’s an option in that moment, and I’ve told this story many times, but it just came fresh to me, in this moment. In that moment as I’m ironing my shirt and then the knock came, while I’m listening to Mariah Carey Christmas CD. God always speaks through Mariah Carey, but for real, that moment I put the iron down. I said, Jesus, whatever you want to do, I’m yours. Sorry, it’s taken me so long, but today I open the door. My mess didn’t get fixed overnight. I didn’t become a preacher overnight. I still had a journey, but that day I started opening up rooms. I said, you can have this one. You can’t have that one, yet. We’ll get back to that. But he kept knocking. I don’t know why I’m lingering on this point, but I’m speaking to somebody, that God is telling you I’m going to keep knocking. I’m going to keep knocking. I don’t care how, how far you get. I don’t care how wild you think you are. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. I love you. I love you. The message of God is a message of love. It’s not condemnation of how bad we are. It’s about how good Jesus is. He is so good.